From Literature Wales:
Patrick McGuinness is named overall winner of the Wales Book of the Year Award 2012, after winning the Fiction category for his novel, The Last Hundred Days (Seren). This is the first year categories have been introduced to the prize. The other category winners are Richard Gwyn, who took the prize for Creative Non-Fiction with his memoir, The Vagabond’s Breakfast (Alcemi), and Gwyneth Lewis who won the Roland Mathias Poetry Award for her collection, Sparrow Tree (Bloodaxe Books).
The category winners recieved £2,000 each and an additional £6,000 was awarded to the overall winner in both Welsh and English.
The announcements were made at a ceremony held by Literature Wales at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff on Thursday 12 July. The winners were presented with their cheques by Leighton Andrews, Minister for Skills and Education and Chair of the Arts Council of Wales, Professor Dai Smith. Patrick McGuinness is already a renowned poet and this, his debut novel, has achieved world-wide recognition, having reached both the Costa First Novel Award Short List and The Man Booker Prize Long List in 2011.
The English-language judges for 2012 were Dr Spencer Jordan (Chair), Dr Sam Adams and Trezza Azzopardi. Spencer Jordan, said of Patrick McGuinness’ novel: “In a world turned upside by the Arab Spring and economic cataclysm, can there be a more apposite or important book than The Last Hundred Days? I doubt it. Set against the backdrop of Ceaucescu’s crumbling regime, the book explores the very human cost when society itself begins to self destruct.”
Fiction Category Winner and overall winner:
Patrick McGuinness, The Last Hundred Days (Seren)
Creative Non-Fiction Category Winner:
Richard Gwyn, The Vagabond’s Breakfast (Alcemi)
The Roland Mathias Poetry Award Winner:
Gwyneth Lewis, Sparrow Tree (Bloodaxe Books)
It proved to be a successful year for poetry as Philip Gross was named the public’s favourite, winning Media Wales’ People’s Choice Award for his poetry collection, Deep Field (Bloodaxe Books).
“Each of the three category winners are writers at the very top of their game,” said Spencer Jordan. “Writing is never more compelling or braver than when it comes from the heart, and that’s what these three books do. In their own small way, each is a manifesto for the human soul in the twenty first century”.